The holiday season is in full swing, and sometimes that can mean as much trouble as it does joy. Aunt Karen is guilting everyone into loving her less-than-prize winning key lime pie, your husband and his brother are still not really on speaking terms despite being forced to sit next to each other at the dinner table, and the oh so delicate navigations of political discussions. Family, shopping frenzies, family, party plans, and family can all lead to a lot of stress. That’s okay of course, it’s perfectly natural. We just need to find a way to cope with that stress, so we can get back to enjoying the good food and the good company.
Here are our 7 quick tips for getting that much needed holiday stress management in:
1) Eat well (Or, as well as possible)
Now, we all know that holidays are almost made for feasting. But just remember that feasting doesn’t necessarily mean eating yourself to death. You may be taking a break from counting calories, but if too much sugar makes you crash, limited your portions. That dark chocolate cake gives you indigestion? Try the fruit bowl for dessert. In fact there's a whole world of healthy holiday treats out there that'll make you forget you're eating healthy.
2) Take a Romantic Stroll through the Snow
Not to sound too much like every doctor ever, but getting that regular exercise has innumerable benefits for your health and well being, including managing your stress. To make it more memorable, make it a romantic snowy stroll. It will clear your head, help you digest all that food, and give you a wonderful sense of calm as you connect with your partner.
3) Listen to your Favorite Tunes
Love holiday music with every fiber of your being? It's time to jam out to Jingle Bells. Does holiday music give you flashbacks to horrible retail work experiences? Its okay, slap the headphones on and drown it out. Listening to music you enjoy releases dopamine, which makes you feel better, releases cortisol which reduces anxiety, and can trigger happy memories. It also help you sleep. Speaking of sleep.
4) Sleep on Something Really Comfortable.
Splurging for those silk pillowcases and robes does more than make you feel all elegant. Studies show that 42 percent of american adults report that their sleep quality is fair or poor. Stress leads to a poor night's sleep, a poor night's sleep then leads to a stressed out day, which leads to a poor night's sleep...you get the picture. Getting some a little special to ensure good shut-eye can help break that sleep to stress cycle. Silk products are particularly good for this, as they are naturally hypoallergenic and temperature regulating, so you'll be comfortable all over for that perfect night's sleep.
5) Do Less, Enjoy More
"Less is more" is one of those expressions that's true for just about everything, including managing yourself during the holidays. Almost everyone has a holiday party planned that you just have to go to, in addition to the ones you've got to plan. Tack on all the other holiday traditions and you've brewed up a stress nightmare. This year, know that saying no can be one of the best things for you. Give yourself a break and choose only a few things to do and attend. Give yourself a night off in the middle of the mad holiday rush and just relax. You'll recuperate and enjoy the rest of your holidays more.
Everyone from spiritual leaders to business leaders suggest that your should start meditating regularly. But don't meditate for your boss, do it for yourself. Meditation guides are easier to find than ever these days and have been shown to be one of the best methods for lowering stress and improving your overall health. It takes very little time out of your day to eventually see huge benefits.
7) Pet a dog
Just look at him. Give him pets.
If you don't have a dog or a can, consider adopting. Just remember that a pet is not a gift, a pet is a life. Only adopt if you're ready to take on the full responsibility of pet ownership. And remember that christmas morning itself might be a frightening way to introduce the young life into your home. Consider adopting a little before or after the holidays instead, to insure they're properly treated as your newest family member.